In my first two posts, I gave a little background about my mindset and the road I have followed so far but for this post, I want to focus on scars. I have had an abundance of friends who self-harm, meaning I have heard many different reasons for doing so and different methods. With each confession came the story of how each person went about hiding their scars, or as I see them, their pain. I have had friends who self-harmed by burning themselves, slapping and punching themselves, suffocation, and more. All of which are equally destructive and potentially fatal. Typically when people think of self-harm they think of cutting, which is the method I am most familiar with and probably the most wide-spread self-harm coping mechanism. Before I talk about cutting, I want to get into what self-harm is and why people do it for anyone who is unfamiliar with this territory. Self-harm is non-suicidal self-injury that harms the surface of your body. Typically, it is not intended to be a suicide attempt but instead a coping mechanism. According to an article posted by Dr. Dombeck on MentalHelp.net, once a habit of cutting is established, it almost becomes compulsory to do so. This is because it creates a way to deal with problems temporarily but once the effect wears off you feel like you have to continue the cycle. People that I have known personally as well as myself, have used this mechanism to deal with emotional pain, anger, anxiety, frustration, and unwanted thoughts or feelings. However, here’s the thing about self-harm, it can very easily lead to suicide be it accidental or intentional.
I started cutting when I was in middle school and this is an issue I am still currently struggling with. I, in no way, write this to berate anyone for doing this nor do I write this to encourage this action. Instead, I write this to say that you are not alone and to educate anyone unfamiliar with this topic. Moreover, before I go any further with my story, write this to say that, even though I fail sometimes and I fall far, I continue trying to move away from the mistakes of my past. Stopping self-harm is as much of a struggle as quitting alcohol or drug abuse because, contrary to popular belief, it is an addiction. I want you to know that you can beat this, we can both beat this and to remember that you are enough. And I will try to remember that I am enough too. Jared Padalecki, an actor who struggled with anxiety and depression said something once that I like to remind myself of from time to time.
“I know sometimes you feel like you can’t fight,
And I know sometimes you feel like you just can’t love yourself.
When that happens I want you to remember that you’re enough.
You’re enough as you are and I’ll try to remember that I’m enough as I am.”
If you get nothing else from this post, remember that you are enough. Now for the story. My scars exist because they distract me from things I don’t want to feel. Suicidal thoughts take up the forefront of my mind almost on a daily basis. I scare myself when the voice inside my head starts to make sense when it urges me to end it all. So I add a new scar. The scar acts as a substitute for suicide, it is like a temporary band aid to fix my problem, holding me over for a little while. Cutting also became a way for me to feel more in control in my life. There are times when I feel like there is an avalanche of things I cannot control or I don’t know how to go about tackling my problems. More than gaining a fraction of control or blocking out suicidal thoughts, I do it when my emotions become destructive in the sense that I could destroy close relationships or my future because of them. To avoid externalizing my feelings, I turn the destruction on myself. This, in no way, is okay to do. I think in those moments it doesn’t occur to me that I matter too, that I don’t deserve to have destruction inflicted upon myself either. Sometimes I feel like I do but that is just another whisper from the voice inside my head urging me to hate who I am and that I exist. I am learning, slowly but surely, how to tell that voice to shut up and piss off. So yeah, that’s why I cut. Now the question is, what am I going to do about it?
The last time I cut was three days ago but before that, I went a month and a half without cutting. That tells me that I can do it and that I can make it if I remember not to give up on myself, which is what I did when I gave in. Your reasons may be different from mine and your methods may differ, but I still want you to know that you are not alone in your fight, you have my support and the support of everyone in Thing with Feathers.